Currie Cup

Smith fancies dry Kimberley conditions

2015-08-19 18:11
Franco Smith (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Coming within a whisker of upsetting the defending champions, Free State Cheetahs coach Franco Smith is looking forward to dryer playing conditions when they face central-region neighbours Griquas in Kimberley on Friday.

It is not often a visiting coach would relish the prospect of playing on the rock-hard pitch in Kimberley, but it will be an improvement from the waterlogged Newlands of the past weekend.

The Cheetahs frustrated WP with a strong defensive showing and had Rayno Benjamin not fumbled the ball before the line at the death they would have left with the spoils.

Instead it was WP, who did most of the playing in that match that came away with a 9-3 victory to remain unbeaten after two rounds in the Currie Cup competition.

Smith was encouraged by his side’s performance in the conditions where a waterlogged Newlands made for a mistake-riddled game.

“I am excited, we are building, growing, and trying to get everything firing and a little bit of confidence would be great,” Smith said at the team announcement in Bloemfontein on Wednesday.

“Last week in difficult conditions the backs did really well, I think we created the opportunities we would ask in a game like that and hopefully playing in dryer conditions they’ll be even more effective.”

Free State displayed marked improvement from their 57-19 defeat to the Blue Bulls in Bloemfontein with Smith praising his charges’ determination on defence.

“Especially the way we committed on defence, basically one metre, and we could have come away with four points,” he said.

“That was because the guys kept on working hard and kept on constructing whereas against the Bulls the moment was too big and the score ran away from us.

“I think game time was lacking in the first game and I reckon the defence effort was exceptional, that was one of our objectives as well as the breakdowns so we came out well.”

Smith has been forced to make a few injury enforced changes with Clayton Blommetjies moving from wing to fullback, replacing AJ Coertzen, who has picked up an ankle injury.

Sergeal Petersen moves into the right wing position to make his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs.

Loose forward Boom Prinsloo suffered a broken jaw and will be replaced by Gerhard Olivier, while Freddy Ngoza and Ruan van Rensburg are new additions on the bench.



15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Michael Van Der Spuy, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Danie Minnie

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ewald Van Der Westhuizen, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Clinton Swart, 22 Jacquin Jansen

Free State Cheetahs team:

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3  Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Tienie Burger, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21 Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Sias Ebersohn


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